Kudu Hunting

Kudu hunting is nearly always the first trophy for a hunting safari in Africa. Indigenous to the Eastern Cape South Africa, kudu occurs in significant numbers.

Shot placement should be on the bottom third of the shoulder for Kudu hunting
Shot placement for Kudu hunting

Table of Contents

  1. Kudu Hunting Cost
  2. Interesting Facts about Kudu
  3. Difference between Male and Female
  4. About the Kudu
  5. Kudu Hunting in the Eastern Cape
  6. Trophy Judgement and Rifle Calibre

Kudu Hunting Cost

The average cost of a Kudu is $1800. A plains game package hunt often includes a Kudu Trophy.

All-Inclusive $4500 Starter Plains Game Package for 7 trophies and 8 days hunting. (Inclusive of a Kudu Trophy)

  • Kudu
  • Impala
  • Wildebeest
  • Springbok
  • Blesbok
  • Warthog
  • Mountain Reedbuck
Monster Eastern Cape Kudu bull
Kudu hunting in South Africa

The Kudu in Pictures

The common name kudu is derived from the indigenous Khoikhoi language of Southern Africa.
Herds of over 20 usually split up into smaller groups. Young cows remain with their mothers' unit, but young bulls form bachelor groups when they reach sexual maturity, normally at two years.
Some of the best kudu hunting methods include stalking their feeding areas early in the morning.
Greater kudus are found extensively throughout Southern Africa.
Kudu is highly alert and notoriously hard to approach.
They can be found in an extensive habitat range.
Horn lengths in the low 50's are fairly common.
Like many other antelopes, male kudu can be found in bachelor groups.
The magnificent horns are spread in beautiful open spirals.
The Great kudu is a large antelope with tawny coloring and thin, white, sparse vertical stripes.

Interesting Facts About Kudu

All-inclusive South African Hunting Safari Packages
  • The kudu or ‘koodoo’ is the Khoisan name given to this antelope.
  • Kudu forms part of the spiral horn family, which also include eland, nyala, and bushbuck.
  • The kudu can jump six-foot-high fences from a standing position, and when fleeing from danger, they can clear obstacles as high as 10 feet.
  • When two kudu bulls are equally matched a fight may ensue.
  • Fights would take the form of lunging, horn clashes, and wrestling with locked horns, and the latter may result in the death of both animals when their horns become locked together in the battle.
  • There are twice as many adult female kudu than there are males.
  • This is due to greater predation of the bulls and deaths at the end of the breeding season caused by exhaustion, malnutrition, and injury.
Kudu trophy. Kudu forms part of the spiral horn family.
Trophy shot with Nick Bowker in South Africa
  • If a kudu is frightened by a predator or during kudu hunting, breaking cover, it will run and then turn to see the threat and freeze, allowing its camouflage to take effect.
  • Although kudu bulls become sexually mature at three years old, they can’t compete with the older males to access the females until they are 6 to 8 years old.
  • Kudu is notoriously alert and hard to approach and can point ears individually in different directions to help detect threats that may be nearby.
  • Some plants, notably acacias, will increase the amount of bitter-tasting tannin in their leaves within 15 minutes of when animals browse them, resulting in kudu moving on to the next plant after only a short time.
  • Kudu give a hoarse alarm bark when they flee.
  • The Eastern Cape Kudu is considered a subspecies of the Greater Kudu.
Kudu trophy. The Eastern Cape Kudu is considered a subspecies of the Greater Kudu.

Difference Between Male and Female

The difference between a male and female kudu is that the female does not have horns and is smaller and lighter than the male with very prominent ears. Also, they have no beard or nose markings.

Males drinking at a waterhole during the dry season.
Kudu Males or Kudu Bulls drinking at a waterhole during the dry season
Females drinking at a waterhole during the dry season. Females do not have horns.
Kudu females or cows drinking at a water hole

About the Kudu

Kudu trophy. The bulls also have large manes.

Like many other antelope, male kudu can be found in bachelor groups, but they are more likely to be solitary.

Wounded bulls, on infrequent occasions, have been known to charge the attacker. They hit the attacker with their sturdy horn base rather than stabbing it.

Wounded Kudu can keep running for many miles without stopping or resting.

Kudu bulls are much larger than females.

The bulls also have large manes running along the underside of their necks. The horns, were they straightened, would reach an average length of 45 inches. 

Trophy hunted with Nick Bowker hunting in the Eastern Cape
African Hunting Packages

The kudu is a browser and feeds on various leaves of trees and shrubs indigenous to South Africa.

They also seasonal feeders and feed on various fruits, pods, and creepers during different seasons and succulents such as spekboom or bacon tree and aloes. 

New-born calves aged 4-6 weeks old are hidden away and nursed by their mothers, who visit them for nursing.

Kudu usually is active in the morning and late afternoon. In developed habitats or under pressure from hunting, kudu has evolved to become nocturnal to avoid humans.

Trophy hunted with Nick Bowker hunting in South Africa

Kudu Hunting in the Eastern Cape

Vital organs showing the position of the heart and lungs.
Kudu vital organs for shot placement.

Your Eastern Cape kudu bull trophy should have an average shoulder height of around 54 inches, weigh about 340 pounds, and have a Horn Length of approximately 43 – 47 inches.

The minimum score under Safari Club International for an Eastern Cape kudu is 98. Add the length of each horn and the circumference of the bases to get your score SCI score.

Kudu is always one of the first animals on any hunter’s list. A genuinely graceful and beautiful trophy.

Bulls can be tough to hunt throughout the year. Be prepared for long stalks and plenty of failed stalks.

Kudu have fantastic eyesight, and the nickname “Grey Ghost” is for a good reason; a kudu can vanish into thin air.

Kudu trophy. Kudu is always one of the first animals on any hunter's list.

It’s rare for a hunter to shoot a kudu on the first stalk. You may well have to take a more extended shot to get your trophy kudu.

Kudu is indigenous to the Eastern Cape South Africa and occurs in significant numbers.

The kudu tends to browse in the early morning and late afternoon, usually resting during the heat of the day.

Like many antelope species, these majestic animals form family groups of approximately ten individuals, mostly cows, and calves, as well as young bulls.

The mature bulls only join the herd during the mating season. Kudu hunting often involves stalking a lone bull.

Kudu trophy. Kudu hunting often involves stalking a lone bull.

Trophy Judgement and Rifle Calibre

Kudu Hunting Rifle Calibre

Kudu trophy. The Eastern Cape Kudu has smaller horns than, the Greater Kudu.

Hunting kudu with less than 7mm would not be recommended.

For those hunters who do not wish to go through the red tape of bringing a rifle into South Africa, Nick Bowker Hunting has available a Sako carbon light 300 Winchester Magnum fitted with a suppressor.

Mounted on the rifle is a Swarovski DS with a built-in rangefinder.

We have hand loaded Hornady ELD-X 200 grain ammunition. The rifle, including ammunition, is available as part of all hunting packages free of charge.

As with most African animals, shot placement should always be in the bottom third of the shoulder. 

The Eastern Cape Kudu has smaller horns than their cousin, the Southern Greater Kudu.

The minimum SCI score for a Southern Greater Kudu is 121.

Kudu hunting in South Africa
Trophy kudu hunt

Kudu Hunting Trophy Judgement

Kudu Hunting with Nick Bowker

Southern Greater Kudu is available in fenced areas in the Eastern Cape but costs substantially more.

Eastern Cape Kudu boasts a much darker coat than that of its cousin, the Southern Greater Kudu, and at times the males will carry an imposing, impressive beard running down the front of the neck.

From late March to June or even July, bulls will lose fear for open country and travel great distances searching for females during the rut.

Judging the trophy quality of kudu bulls can be very difficult at times. Always ensure the shapes of the horns are wide and symmetrical with white tips.

Consider the depth of the curls as this is where the real hidden length lies. Any mature bull is an impressive trophy and the pride of many kudu hunters around the world.

Kudu trophy. Any mature bull is an impressive trophy.
Nick Bowker Hunting

References:

Smithers, RHN, 1983. The Mammals of the Southern African Subregion, 1st edition. University of Pretoria, CTP

Focus on the Greater Kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros), Deon Furstenburg, GEO WILD Consult (Pty) Ltd.

Deon Furstenburg – Focus on the Kudu

Smithers RHN – The Mammals of the Southern African Subregion

Seaworld – Animal Facts

Safari bookings – Greater Kudu Facts

African Skye Hunting – Africa Destinations

African Wildlife Foundation – Wildlife Conservation Kudu

Kruger National Park – The Kudu